Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Caring in the midst of Gaza turmoil

Posted on: July 21st, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Leigh Anne Williams



Palestinian families take shelter in a United Nations Relief and Works Agency school. Photo: Sharef Sharhan/UNWRA Archives


On July 18, the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City got the kind of automated phone call many people in the city have been getting from the Israel Defense Forces. It warned of likely military action in the vicinity and advised the people there to evacuate immediately to a different part of the city.

Canon John Organ, a Canadian who is serving in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem as chaplain to Bishop Suheil Dawani, described the dire situation in Gaza and at the hospital in an interview with the Anglican Journal late that day. The interview was briefly interrupted by warning sirens going off in Jerusalem, where Organ is based.

A short time later the interview resumed.

“So a number of people didn’t come in, but as [hospital director] Suheila [Tarazi] said, ‘Where are we to go? And how can we possibly go?’ ” As of that evening, Organ said, “I have not heard anything, and I would have heard, if something terrible had happened. But they are the midst of the conflict.”

The hospital has not been hit by the airstrikes so far, but Organ said it sustained some damage from bombing nearby. “The tremors from it, because everything’s made of stone, caused some major cracking and then some collapsing of roofing in around the surgical theatre, the operation room, and there’s been some structural damage.”

The situation escalated over the weekend with the Palestinian death toll rising to more than 500, including about 100 children; 3,000 others were injured. Two Israeli civilians and 25 soldiers have been killed since IDF ground operations began last week, according to Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, Haaretz.

“We’re involved on strictly a humanitarian basis. We’re caring for people in need, and we do that through health care, especially in Gaza—that’s our primary ministry there,” said Organ, explaining the mandate of the hospital, which is run by the diocese. “We serve the poorest of the poor and right now our hospital has 14 physically traumatized patients. There are several children, but two children have had their entire family killed and they are with us now.” Organ said from the photos those orphans are about seven or eight years old. Organ and Dawani speak with the director daily to get updates on the situation in the hospital.

Organ also spoke of the challenges for the hospital, which he said has been running on a “skeleton budget,” since it lost funding that the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees had provided for decades. “We don’t know exactly what happened, but it was stopped about this time two years ago,” he said. Since the end of 2012, there has been no major sponsor and the hospital has run on individual contributions, but it cannot provide the care it once did, he said.

In response to the current crisis, Organ said the hospital has “geared back up,” bringing two former surgeons and five nurses on contract because the patients they are now caring for are “going to need two or three months of very intensive medical care,…[the director] had to have continuity of care for them for the long-term.”

One of the strengths of the hospital is a burn facility unit that was created a couple of years ago, Organ said. It is equipped with special pools for burn patients to be immersed in a solution that advances the healing. That’s fortunate, he says, because fires caused by the bombing have meant that there are many patients in need of that treatment.

One other challenge the diocese and hospital are trying to meet is feeding people.

“A lot of people come to the gate and seek food from the hospital, so they are feeding hundreds of people,” Organ said. The hospital also follows a typical custom of hospitality of feeding the families of patients, who often stay at their loved one’s bedside around the clock. “So with 14 in-patients, that means a lot of extra people are being supported there as well,” he said.

He echoed the official statement from the diocese and heads of churches calling for an immediate ceasefire and the resumption of peace talks.

The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund has issued an initial grant of $25,000  and an appeal for donations for the Al Ahli hospital.


Anglican Journal News, July 21, 2014


Anglicans and Lutherans gather for worship conference

Posted on: July 21st, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Leigh Anne Williams



 Julie Hink (ELCIC Edmonton); Scott Knarr (ELCIC Waterloo); Faith Nostbakken (ELCIC Edmonton); and Maylanne Maybee (ACC Winnipeg) share a sunny moment outside Edmonton’s Providence Renewal Centre prior to the start of the National Worship Conference. Photo; Eileen Scully


More than 200 Lutherans and Anglicans from across Canada are gathering this week at the Providence Renewal Centre in Edmonton for the biennial National Worship Conference that runs from July 20 to 23.

“It’s educational, formational and it’s community building, too. People will meet and share ideas and resources,” Eileen Scully, director of the Anglican Church of Canada’s faith, worship and ministry (FWM) department, told the Anglican Journal from the conference centre. Many of those attending are clergy and church musicians.

Lutherans from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada first created the conference more than 20 years ago, and in the spirit of their full communion relationship with the Anglican Church of Canada, invited Anglicans to take part in the conference in 2002. The first joint conference was in 2004, but Scully observed that “this is the first year it seems to have really taken off with Anglicans.” The attendees are almost evenly divided between Lutheran and Anglican, and she said that there had been friendly banter between organizers as to which church would have the most participants. Scully noted that the 2014 conference marks the 10th   anniversary of the conference as a full communion event.

The theme of the conference is “Weaving Strands: Liturgy for Living,” and one of two keynote speakers is the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, a dean and professor of liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif., who also chairs a standing commission on liturgy and music for The Episcopal Church. Her first address will centre on the question “What do liturgy and mission have to do with each other?” and the second on “How can we design liturgy that makes a difference in people’s lives?”

Organist, composer and conductor Dr. David Cherwien, cantor at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minn., and artistic director of the National Lutheran Choir based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, will speak on the themes of  “Weaving the Poetic, Prophetic, Priestly Natures of Liturgical Music” and  “What Language Shall I Borrow? It’s about more than Organs, Choirs or Praise Bands.”

The workshop leaders include Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada; Bishop Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada; Bishop Larry Kochendorfer of the ELCIC’s Synod of Alberta and the Territories, and Bishop Jane Alexander of the Anglican diocese of Edmonton.

Scully and members of the Anglican Liturgy Task Force will be leading a workshop and a three-hour, post-conference FWM consultation about the future of liturgical texts, particularly a revision of the Book of Alternative Services. “It’s the liturgy task force really seeking input about what the church wants in revised texts, mainly Sunday eucharist at this point and baptism,” said Scully.

Following the theme of the conference, Scully said she hopes to focus on “connections between liturgy and life, worship and mission.” For example, she noted, “If we are really serious about the Marks of Mission,…about becoming a more missionally centred and driven church, how do we want to see that reflected and shaped in our liturgical texts?”

Consultation participants will also look at different baptismal rites that are being used in several other provinces of the Anglican Communion, including one that sparked some controversy in the Church of England because, among other things, it dropped references to the devil. “It was a big issue in England, but in fact, in the Scottish Episcopal Church, they’ve dropped the devil for a long time now—over 10 years—so that’s one of the texts that we’re putting out before people,” said Scully. “It’s all one baptism but with different sorts of ways of framing it and [asking] what speaks to you.”


Anglican Journal News, July 21, 2014


Taizé: The big summer meetings begin

Posted on: July 21st, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


Since the middle of June, the number of young people in Taizé has been steadily increasing each week. The meetings are very international with a great diversity of origins among the participants. Volunteers from countries all over the world have also been arriving over the last few weeks. There are some new workshops on offer this summer, and others led by experts in their field staying for a few days. Included in these we should mention the retired Archbishop of Algiers, Mgr. Teissier, speaking about inter-religious dialogue; Rabbi David from Israel, coming to take part in several young meetings; Christoph Benn from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Philippe Lamberts, Member of the European Parliament; as well as doctors from the region surrounding. Still other themes are in preparation.

Among visiting church dignitaries we have had the pleasure to welcome the President of the Methodist Church in Benin, several national youth chaplains from various African countries, the Archbishop of Dijon, France, the Bishop of Magdeburg, Germany, several bishops from the Church of England and five orthodox priests from Belarus, accompanying groups of young people.


News from Taizé by email, 17 July 2014


PWRDF issues appeal for Gaza

Posted on: July 16th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Marites N. Sison



Nine-year-old Maryam Al-Masri, who was wounded in an Israeli air strike, comforts her grandmother as she lies in bed at a hospital in Gaza City. Photo: Reuters/Mohammed Salem


The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has issued an appeal for Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza, which has been responding to the needs of civilians wounded and displaced by the ongoing Israeli operations against Palestinian militants.

Meanwhile, Anglican diocese of Ottawa bishop John Chapman is urging Canadian Anglicans to pray for an end to the violence and bloodshed in Israel and Palestine, and for the resumption of the peace process. Chapman also urged Anglicans to respond to the appeal for the hospital, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, which is supported by his diocese. (The diocese of Ottawa is in a companion relationship with the diocese of Jerusalem.)

PWRDF, the relief and development arm of the Anglican Church of Canada, has also sent an initial grant of $25,000 to Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), which has been providing support to the hospital in the form of fuel, medications, medical supplies and psychosocial support for thousands of women and children affected by the offensive. Both PWRDF and NCA are members of the Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance, a grouping of church-based agencies responding to humanitarian needs worldwide.  (To donate, see information at the end of this article.)

The appeal is being made in response to a call for assistance by the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, who updated Anglican Church of Canada leaders about the situation in Gaza in a letter.

“In the last two days, the impact of the air strikes has caused structural damages to the hospital, including its ventilation system in the operating theatre and the emergency room,” wrote Dawani. “…Windows have been broken in many buildings, as well as the new diagnostic center.” Like other hospitals in Gaza, Al-Ahli is running out of medicine, food for patients and fuel for electric generators, he added.  Notwithstanding safety issues and lack of supplies, staff have maintained their round-the-clock presence and continue to receive patients, said Dawani. Chapman described the staff efforts as nothing short of heroic.

Dawani added that the Israeli government’s call for 40,000 reserve troops has triggered fears that the conflict—now on its eighth day—can only escalate.

In the last 36 hours, he said 500 tons of explosives have been dropped in Gaza “on an area that is the most densely populated in the world, and home to 1.7 million Palestinians.” Children comprise half of Gaza’s population.

At least 168 Palestinians have been killed, 133 of them civilian, and 1,140 others wounded, including 297 children, according to Dawani, quoting statistics from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). About 17,000 others have fled their homes.

Meanwhile, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and ACT Alliance are calling on the international community to demand an end to the ongoing violence between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

“We strongly condemn the indiscriminate attacks by Israeli military on the civilian population in Gaza, as we absolutely condemn the absurd and immoral firing of rockets by militants from Gaza to populated areas in Israel,” said a statement issued by Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary. The WCC is an ecumenical organization with members from over 350 Christian churches (including the Anglican Church of Canada) from more than 110 countries and territories. It represents more than 560 million Christians.

The WCC Central Committee has expressed “deep sorrow and concern” over the escalation of violence, said Tveit. The bombardments, now on their eighth day, have killed over 176 Palestinians and injured nearly 1,300, according to media reports. No Israeli fatalities have been reported.

“Both Israelis and Palestinians require their well-being, security and a just and genuine peace,” said Tveit. “The recent failure of the negotiations and the loss of prospects for a two-state solution and the end of occupation, as well as a just peace and vision of a common future, have led to the unbearable and infernal cycle of violence and hatred that we are witnessing today.”

Tveit urged churches and religious leaders to work together “to transform the discourse of hatred and revenge that is spreading more and more in many circles in society into one that sees the other as neighbour and as equal brother and sister in one God.”

ACT Alliance General Secretary John Nduna said the United Nations and parties to the conflict must facilitate access so that aid agencies can attend to humanitarian needs.

“Once again, it is innocent men, women and children who are suffering and paying the ultimate price for the failure of the politicians,” said Nduna in a statement. “We condemn without reservation any attacks on civilians irrespective of their faith, ethnicity, or nationality, and condemn the use of civilians as human shields. This escalation of violent conflict is a reminder to us all that grief and pain are never far away for Israelis and Palestinians.”


To donate to PWRDF’s Gaza response:

Designate your online donation for “Gaza Response”

By phone
For credit card donations, contact:
Jennifer Brown
416-924-9199 ext. 355 or 1-866-308-7973
Please do not send your credit card number by email or fax.

By mail
Please make cheques payable to “PWRDF” and mark them for “Gaza” and mail them to:
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
The Anglican Church of Canada
80 Hayden St., Toronto, ON
M4Y 3G2 


Anglican Journal News, July 15, 2014



Renowned theologian and social activist dies

Posted on: July 16th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments



By Marites N. Sison




A renowned Anglican theologian, Dr. Christopher Lind was passionate about the “intersection of Christian faith and economic justice.” Photo: Contributed


Dr. Christopher Lind, a renowned Anglican theologian, ethicist, educator, passionate social activist and most recently, executive director of the Sorrento Centre in British Columbia, died July 11 after a brief illness. He was 61.

Tributes flowed on social media and via emails when Lind’s death was announced by his family, with most remembering him as a brilliant but down-to-earth thinker who had a great capacity for compassion and friendship. Shortly after news of his death was announced, Sorrento Centre staff and visitors, including Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, gathered at a eucharist for Lind. The flag on the centre grounds was lowered in his honour.

A senior fellow of Massey College at the University of Toronto, Lind also served from 2003 to 2006 as director of the Toronto School of Theology, one of the biggest and most diverse ecumenical theological co-operatives in North America.

“You will hear about his intense commitment to the ministry of the baptized. He was a lay person, a theologian, a theological educator, an advocate for justice on a broad global scale, but also in the nitty-gritty details of things like the situation of hotel workers in the city of Toronto,” said Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada. “He was very tuned in to the sense of God’s justice and compassion.”

Thompson, who first met Lind in the 1980s, when the latter was a tutor at Trinity College, described him as a “determinedly lay person” who undoubtedly had a lot of invitations to become an ordained leader but chose to excel in lay ministry. “It wasn’t that he didn’t respect ordained ministry—it was that he knew there was more than ordained ministry in the life of the church.”

Lind’s other major contribution was “to constantly hold God’s demand for justice in front of the church and constantly remind us that the God who creates us is a God who calls us into partnership in caring for the world.” Thompson recalled a workshop that Lind conducted on “justice for the earth and the earth’s peoples.” Lind energized many participants with his idea that “care for the earth and for the peoples of the earth is really a seamless reflection of God’s care,” said Thompson.

Lind was a diplomatic rabble-rouser. He exemplified what the former primate, Archbishop Michael Peers, used to describe as having a commitment to do the right thing by being committed to “the endless business of bother,” said Thompson. “The church listened to Christopher because we needed to be bothered by him, but it wasn’t always comfortable.” But while Lind was forceful in his arguments, “[he] was never unkind,” said Thompson. “He had a good critical mind; he could disagree with someone, but there was none of that sharp negativity about him. I think he pushed the envelope, but he did it in a way that meant when he knocked on your door, he’d open it again.” He dazzled people with his intellect, but he didn’t have “brusqueness or disdain for people who hadn’t journeyed where he had journeyed,” said Thompson. “He was wonderfully patient…he wasn’t a megaphone justice man. He was a teacher and a worker who understood the issues.”

Peers recalled that Lind, then a young graduate student, had visited him when Peers was bishop of the Regina-based diocese of Qu’Appelle 30 years ago. “I thought, ‘Well, this is a very bright guy.’ ”

Like Thompson, Peers noted that while Lind was qualified for ordination, he didn’t choose that route. “It was partly because he thought that a proficiently educated lay person needed to make a mark in the church on his own bat without ordination.”

Peers had also appointed Lind to the Primate’s Theological Commission, which had been created by General Synod in 1995. “I thought that Chris would be one of the top people and the bishops thought so, too,” he said. As a theologian in the liberal tradition, he was “capable of stirring up discussion” in the commission, but he also helped focus the discussion, “sometimes not in favour of what he was in favour of, but that didn’t matter.” One of Lind’s greatest contributions in the life of the church was that he pushed for clarity and honesty in theological statements, said Peers. “He wasn’t for mushy theology—that’s why I enjoyed his company and valued his contributions.”

(Ret.) Bishop Terry Brown, who worked on a book project with Lind (Justice as Mission), described him as a theologian who was interested “in the intersection of Christian faith and economic justice.” This interest found expression in a monthly column, Moral Economy, which he wrote for The Western Producer, Canada’s largest farm newspaper, and in numerous books and publications. Lind authored or co-edited five books in the fields of ecumenical social ethics, globalization and agriculture, and mission and theology.

“I have had many jobs in my life. Taken together, they have formed an academic career. However, a vocation is different from a career. It is reflected in a career but runs much deeper in one’s soul,” Lind wrote on his blog. “As I reflect on what moves me, excites me and commands my attention, I see that I am passionate about transformation. I am constantly engaged in forming, reforming and transforming my self, and my relationships with the world around me. I take delight in responding to the call to bring others along to this extraordinary journey.”

Lind’s influence extended beyond the Anglican Church of Canada, said Brown. As a theological educator, Lind made sure that the clergy he trained “had a deep commitment to social and economic justice,” said Brown. “As a lay Anglican who worked in the United Church and ecumenical institutions, he was also interested in ecumenical theology, moving beyond denominational stereotypes.” Lind also had a great interest in the Social Gospel tradition, particularly in the prairies, where he worked as a teacher and later as president at the amalgamated St. Andrew’s College and St. Stephen’s College in Saskatoon, added Brown.

Lind’s career and ministry trajectory came full circle when he headed Sorrento Centre, a retreat and conference centre, just as it was about to celebrate its 50th year, said Thompson.  At Sorrento, Lind began working for its renewal as a centre of growth and learning. There he was again, in the community of the baptized, working at Christian formation,said Thompson.

Peers noted that Lind had brought his “considerable vision” to Sorrento and “one of the tragedies of his dying when he did was that he was bringing life to the centre” and he was at the forefront of its capital campaign. “That was one of the skills he had—he knew how to raise money. He was a very practical person; he wasn’t an abstract theologian.”

Lind’s work at Sorrento “re-energized the community with a vision of a holy place of transformation, learning, healing and belonging,” noted Dean Peter Elliott, dean and rector of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver. Elliott, who is also Lind’s brother-in-law, said that throughout his illness, Lind and his family were “overwhelmed by the outpouring of messages of love and respect from his former students and colleagues across the country and around the world.”

On a personal level, Brown said Lind was “a very fine person, treating students and friends with the greatest of respect, [and] a good listener.”

On Facebook, Lind’s friend Barbara Ruttan wrote:  “Your passion for seeking understanding of the deep mysteries of your journey touched and inspired a whole community as you ‘crowd-sourced’ Christianity from your bed.”

Thompson and Lind recalled Lind’s playful side. Peers said Lind was great fun to be with. He was also an aspiring composer—he wrote, “Confession,” a hymn honouring the 1993 apology offered by Peers to indigenous people for the role that the Anglican Church of Canada played in the Indian residential schools system.

“Last summer at Sorrento, I saw the side of Chris that could almost be corny,” said Thompson, who said that Lind had taken part in a skit. “[He was] really very comfortable with his ordinariness, [and] for someone as extraordinary as Chris to be comfortable with being one of us, being ordinary was quite lovely.”

Lind graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and political science from York University, a master of divinity degree from Trinity College and a PhD in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College, specializing in ethics and economics.

Lind is survived by his wife, Anne, and children, Emily and Aaron, who were by his side throughout his stay in the hospital and hospice. A memorial service is scheduled at Christ Church Cathedral Vancouver on Sat., July 26, at 3 p.m. Lind’s ashes will be interred in the Memorial Garden at Sorrento Centre, with celebrations of his life to be held later in Saskatoon and Toronto.


Anglican Journal News,  July 15, 2014


PWDRF launches $400,000 food project in South Sudan

Posted on: July 15th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments



Photo Credit: ACT/Paul Jeffrey


From the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund

Over the next few months, PWRDF, with Finn Church Aid (FCA) and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) will support over 10,000 people who have been forced to flee their homes by the violence in South Sudan.  The program in rural communities in Mundri County, Western Equaotria state of South Sudan will primarily support vulnerable women and children. A large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have settled in Mundri County after fleeing the recent fighting in Juba, Bor and Malaki.

The 10,028 IDPs supported by the project during the next 3 months will have 2 full meals each day. Each individual will receive: 7 kg of maize flour, 1.3kg of beans, 350 ml of cooking oil, 200g of sugar, and 100g of salt per month for 3 months. They have already planted crops, but need this food to tide them over until their crops are ready to harvest.  The food provided by PWRDF will ensure they are healthy and have enough energy to care for their crops and to work on projects for the community.

Those who are able to work will repair and improve community infrastructure including local water points, a bridge, a health care centre, and a compound in Amadi where some IDPs are being hosted.

The two meals a day will also help children to stay in school and to be able to focus more on their school work. It will also help nursing mothers and their babies to fare better.

In addition, some or all of the 12 currently idle bore holes (small wells) in the host communities will be tested and, where possible, repaired.  Access to safe drinking water will help prevent the spread of water-borne diseases and conflicts between people over the scarcity of water, and children will no longer have to walk long distances to bring water home for their families.

By working with CFGB, PWRDF is able to access 4:1 matching funds from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), enabling PWRDF’s $80,000 contribution to do $400,000 of work.


Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS), July 11, 2014

New editor for Anglican Journal

Posted on: July 15th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Diana Swift



Marites (Tess) Sison, senior staff writer, has been appointed editor of the Anglican Journal. She brings almost three decades of professional journalism to her new role. Photo: Saskia Rowley


Marites (Tess) N. Sison has been appointed editor of the 139-year-old Anglican Journal. She moves to the editorship from her longstanding position as senior writer, taking the helm from Archdeacon Paul Feheley, who has served as interim managing editor since January 2013.

A graduate in mass communications at the University of the Philippines in Manila, Sison brings almost three decades of professional journalism to her new role. Her work includes contributions to The New York Times, the Toronto Star and CBC Radio. Since joining the editorial staff of the Anglican Journal in 2003, she has received 28 awards for writing and photography. As skilled in digital communications as she is in the printed word, Sison has also played a pivotal part in developing and managing the newspaper’s online strategies and social media platforms.

“Tess has a long and very positive history with the Journal, but that’s only a small part of what made her stand out. She also has a strong vision for the future of the paper, website and social media,” said the Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson, general secretary and interim director of communications of the Anglican Church of Canada. “And she sees the Journal as a ministry that serves the church and strengthens our sense of mission.”

In her 11 years on staff, Sison, 49, has reported news and crafted features on a wide array of topics in religion, human rights, humanitarian crises and social justice—from the tiniest local congregations to the farthest-flung reaches of the Anglican Communion. But she is perhaps best known recently for her insightful, painstaking and drill-down coverage of Canadian aboriginal issues, including the Indian residential schools tragedy and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“Tess’s coverage has always been sensitive, probing and fair—especially on indigenous issues,” said Bishop Mark MacDonald, the church’s national indigenous bishop. “She has not only depicted the concerns of Indigenous peoples accurately, but she has also helped the whole church to see realities that have often been hidden in plain sight. It will be good to have her skill and art helping us see the world.”

The editors of the diocesan newspapers also expressed their approval. “This is a great step forward for the Journal and for the church to have acknowledged Tess’s talents and dedication lo these many years,” said Tim Christison, editor of The Sower in the diocese of Calgary. “Her professionalism and life experience will serve us all well as the Journal and church journalism continue to evolve. We are blessed that she is willing to take on the challenges while maintaining her high standards.”

Poised to step into her new role, Sison shared her editorial hopes for the future. “As the church goes through an epochal shift, I would like the Journal to review its mission and vision to see whether it responds to today’s needs and challenges,” she said. “As editor, I would like to see the Journal go beyond reporting on church governance issues and events and also tackle issues and questions about faith, ethics, religion, spirituality, social issues and, yes, everyday living.”

Sison also plans to strengthen the newspaper’s relationship with Church House, bishops and dioceses, diocesan newspaper editors and Anglicans across Canada. “I would like the Journal to be out there on the ground and on the road, gathering stories that offer encouragement and hope, provoke deep thought and inspire positive change and capture the challenges as well as the courage, dynamism and goodness of those who have dedicated their lives to God’s plan.”

Yet she remains aware of the need for journalistic integrity and objectivity, vowing to uphold the paper’s editorial independence and continue its role of informing and challenging readers.

Sison is also mindful of the editor’s crucial role in developing new writers. “I would like to help train the next generation of religious journalists through a mentorship program for young Anglicans and Lutherans,” she said. “I would also like to add more value to our website, and we will embark on more multimedia projects in the coming months.


Anglican Journal News, July 15, 2014



Churches provide support for Gaza civilians

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Anglican Journal staff


The Al-Ahli Arab Hospital has been tending to civilians wounded by the ongoing Israeli offensive against Palestinian militants in  Gaza.  File photo: Anglican Video



With the deepening conflict in the Middle East, Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance, a global grouping of church-based agencies working in emergencies worldwide, has announced that it is working with local partners to provide support for civilians who have been wounded and displaced by the ongoing Israeli operation against Palestinian militants in Gaza.

ACT Alliance, the Department of Support to Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches and its partner in Gaza, the Near East Council of Churches (NECC), will provide primary healthcare for mother and child, cash relief to 500 families severely affected by the bombardments, and psychosocial support to NECC staff and family.

Norwegian Church Aid, an alliance member, will also provide support to Al Ahli Arab Hospital, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, in the form of fuel, medications and medical supplies to provide comprehensive in-patient services to wounded and non-injured patients, and psychosocial support to thousands of women and children affected by the offensive.

Last February, the Anglican Church of Canada’s Anglican Video visited Jerusalem and Gaza, to document the various ministries of the Jerusalem diocese. This video explains the critical role the hospital plays in the life of Gaza City’s residents.

Meanwhile, in a statement posted on its website, the Diocese of Jerusalem said it continues to hold the people of Gaza and the region in its prayers, “hoping that the violence will end soon.” Diocese of Jerusalem Bishop Suheil Dawani is also in regular contact with the Al Ahli Hospital “to ensure that staff and families are safe.”


Anglican Journal News, July 14, 2014



Church of England says yes to women bishops

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments



The Revd Rosemarie Mallett celebrates after the historic vote
Photo Credit: Church of England


By ACNS staff

Women can now become bishops following an historic vote by the Church of England’s General Synod today.

Following a day of debate at the General Synod meeting in York on the issue of women in the episcopate, at least two thirds majority of each house – laity, clergy and bishops – voted in favour of the measure1 to pass.

General Synod votes in favour in all three houses:

  • Bishops: 37 in favour, 2 against, 1 abstention.
  • Clergy: 162 in favour, 25 against, 4 abstentions.
  • Laity: 152 in favour, against 45, 5 abstentions.

This means the first woman bishop could potentially be appointed by the end of the year. It also means that the Church of England joins 20 other Provinces or Extra-Provincial dioceses that allow women bishops2.

COFE_York _Synod 2014b

Before the vote, the Archbishop of York John Sentamu asked for the result to be met “with restraint and sensitivity” but when it was announced there was a flurry of cheers.

Today’s vote comes 18 months after the proposal was last voted upon in November 2012 when the proposal failed to achieve the required two thirds majority in the House of Laity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:

“Today is the completion of what was begun over 20 years with the ordination of women as priests. I am delighted with today’s result. Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases disagreeing.

The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds. Very few institutions achieve this, but if we manage this we will be living our more fully the call of Jesus Christ to love one another. As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote I am also mindful of those within the Church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow.

My aim, and I believe the aim of the whole church, should be to be able to offer a place of welcome and growth for all. Today is a time of blessing and gift from God and thus of generosity. It is not winner take all, but in love a time for the family to move on together.“

SCREENGRAB_York _justinwelby

The legislation approved today includes a House of Bishops declaration, underpinned by five guiding principles and a disputes resolution procedure. Following the vote on the measure which enables women to become Bishops, the Synod voted on enabling legislation (Canon) and also rescinded existing legislation (Act of Synod) as part of a package of measures being proposed.

Following today’s vote the measure moves to the Legislative Committee of General Synod and then to the Ecclesiastical Committee of the Houses of Parliament where the legislation will be considered. Subject to Parliamentary approval the measure will return to the General Synod in November of this year where it will come into force after its promulgation (legal formal announcement).

Today’s vote follows a process which began at the 2013 July Synod  which created a steering committee on women bishops, chaired by the Bishop of Rochester James Langstaff, with a mandate to draw up a package of new proposals. Bishop James opened the debate on behalf of the steering committee and responded to the debate urging synod members to vote for the proposals.


Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS), July 14, 2014





Youth make pilgrimage to Toronto

Posted on: July 13th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Leigh Anne Williams

Jackson Chevarie and Veronica Chenell with their new friend Brian, who they met at Toronto’s Church of the Redeemer. Photo: Julie Boisvert



Growing up in a village of about 500 people in the Magdalene Islands in the Gulf of the Saint Lawrence is, in many ways, a world away from big city life in Toronto. But for 10 young students travelling with a teacher and an Anglican priest, coming to the city in May was meant to be more than a tourist trip: it was an urban pilgrimage.

The Rev. Jeffrey Metcalfe and his wife, Julie Boisvert, a teacher at Grosse-Ile School on Entry Island, created the Social Justice Club with the students to “aid in the formation of critically thinking citizens who are engaged with issues within Canadian society, and who are able to respond to those different than themselves with compassion.” Throughout the year, they met monthly to discuss social and environmental issues. The trip to Toronto was intended to cap their year of study by bringing them face to face with some of the issues they had talked about.

“What was really shocking for me is that there are so many things in the world that we weren’t aware of,” Lucas Chenell, 16, told the Anglican Journal after seeing people ask for spare change during his stay in Toronto. In his own community, he said, poverty is less visible. “There’s a food bank, but I wasn’t really aware of it. We really only hear about it around Christmas time. Here, when you see people on the streets, it is very shocking.”

The students were hosted by Church of the Redeemer, where they camped out on the basement floor. Many of the students said volunteering with the church’s breakfast and lunch program for people who may be homeless or struggling with poverty and housing problems offered some of the most meaningful experiences of their trip. Meeting the guests at Redeemer’s lunch program changed their preconceived notions of who the homeless are and dispelled fears that they might be “scary” people.

“There’s this kind of stereotype about people who are less fortunate, who are living on the streets,” said Krista Clarke, 16, “but as we’ve been working here these past few days, I’ve had some of the best conversations in my life with these people.”

Jackson Chevarie, 15, added that he was surprised by the optimistic attitude of the people he’d met. “Some people told me about their problems and how their life has turned out badly for them, but they managed to say it with a smile and try to look on the brighter side of things.”

Courtney Scott, 14, said she felt shy socializing with Redeemer’s lunch guests at first, but by the third day she felt comfortable. “It was a nice experience getting to know new people.”

Angie Hocking, Redeemer’s outreach co-ordinator, took the students on a walk through the streets of downtown Toronto and suggested they experience firsthand how it is for homeless people—asking for change to use a telephone, brushing their teeth in a public washroom and going to the public library for a place to rest.

Jaymi Burke, 14, followed through with the assignment and asked people for change in a subway station. She found it a tough experience as people tried to avoid making eye contact with her. “I felt uncomfortable because I didn’t want to bother them, but they way they treated me made me feel [worse.] I was in a vulnerable state because I was begging for money…I felt…embarrassed and humiliated.”

The group also had a close-up view of refugee issues in Canada when they met Jozsef Pusuma and his wife, Timea Daroczi, who have been living in sanctuary in a Toronto church since 2011 to avoid being deported back to Hungary, where they were attacked for being Roma human rights activists. The students were particularly moved by the plight of Lulu, the couple’s six-year-old daughter. “It’s really heart-wrenching to see,” said Marissa Matthews, 18. “At that age, most children want to go outside and play in the grass…go for walks on the street, and she’s locked in a church.”

Matthews was also moved by Daroczi’s request that the students write children’s stories to help change negative stereotypes about the Roma people (sometimes called gypsies). “When she was about 14 was the first time she said she understood that she was Roma,” recounted Matthews. “After her father broke it to her, she tried to scrub the colour from her skin and colour her hair.”

Clarke added that now, if she were to hear people speaking in a disparaging way about refugees, “I’d tell them that they don’t realize the actual struggle it is. People aren’t coming here to take our jobs; they are running for their lives.”

The students also visited a Toronto mosque. Though some expressed surprise that there were no chairs or pews in the worship space, Scott observed that she didn’t find “the religion or what we saw and what [their guide] was talking about much different than Christianity. We follow Jesus and they follow Mohamad, but they are all related in some way.”

The group travelled from Toronto to the Woodlands Cultural Centre on the Six Nations First Nation near Brantford, Ont. Burke said the experience was a rollercoaster of emotions. “I was shocked about some stereotypes they told us, because some I actually thought were true! For example, I always thought indigenous people had stuff for free—gas, housing, etc.—but actually, they just don’t pay taxes.”  She said she enjoyed learning about the aboriginal origins of Lacrosse and playing the game. “I had so much fun! But when we had the tour of the residential school, I felt awful. To just think that innocent children were put in this place for no reason is devastating.”

Each night, the students closed the day with a “sacred circle,” a time to talk over their experiences and emotions, and a lectio divina meditation. Metcalfe said that as traditional church structures are struggling, “the aim of the Social Justice Club and the trip was to focus on basic, foundational questions such as, ‘What does Jesus actually teach?’ So one of the reasons we’ve been doing lectio divina in the midst of our work of serving the homeless, meeting refugees, is bringing the scriptures alive—by showing people that these aren’t just random texts that we read; these are other people’s stories and experiences. And so in sacred circle, we try to bring all of this together and see the whole thing not as tourism but as a pilgrimage.”

As the students shared their impressions with the Journal, Boisvert told them that she was “blown away” by the way they had responded to all the new situations they’d encountered. “I was really impressed with all of you and your ability to just open up and be so kind to the people we met,” she said.

It seemed these Magdalene Islands kids were going home with some very special souvenirs.


Anglican Journal News, July 11, 2014